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Protestors outside President Trump's D.C. court hearing

Trump is charged: Now what? Voters debate

Former President Donald Trump faced four criminal charges Thursday in a D.C. courtroom where he pleaded not guilty to conspiring to prevent a peaceful transfer of power following the 2020 election. Trump is expected to appear in court again Aug. 28 to face election interference charges.

By Maddy Sherer and Lauren Spiers

Voters gathered outside former President Donald Trump’s arraignment and discussed his criminal charges and their impact on the upcoming election. Some carried “Black Lives Matter” flags, while others dressed up as Trump.

Tom from Arizona said he was a lifelong Republican, but Trump has pushed him toward a more centrist perspective. “If anything, this has brought us more to the center,” Tom said. “I think it brings a lot of people to the center. Everyone’s scooting toward this more independent-type thinking.” Tom said his vote is decided at this point. “The indictment outcome wouldn’t change my mind for how I feel about the party. I think both sides are so far apart. We just have to come together.”

Trump supporter talking to media
A man wearing a Make American Great Again hat and speaking to the media.

Mason Hudson, who wore a red “Make America Great Again” hat and a gray shirt with “Trump’s Life Matters” written on it, said his vote would depend on the outcome of Trump’s potential trial. “I’m not going to vote for a guy who’s in jail,” Hudson said. “But I don’t think he’s going to be physically in jail by then.” Hudson also said he thought the court dates’ timing was suspicious. “I think it’s kind of funny that they’re scheduling these court dates really close to the primaries.”

Hudson said he believes the election results following the indictment may surprise the public. “Will it affect the outcome of the primary?” Hudson said. “You know, I think it might help [Trump]. He’s got a lot of low supporters.”

Herbert William said he was eager to see justice done.

“I came here to stand up for the people,” William said. “I’m looking for justice for the people.”

William said he felt optimistic about the outcome of the arraignment. “The judge has a good reputation, and she won’t be pushed around. She’s used to handling the Jan. 6 cases. She’s fair.” He said he also came to stand against the regressive politics of Trump’s supporters. “You’ve got to get a psychiatrist to acknowledge what’s going on in America,” William said. “People are fearful as changes are taking place.

Man protesting Trump in front of court house
A protestor holds up a sign outside D.C. federal court on Thursday.

These people [Trump supporters] want to turn back. They don’t want to go in that direction. And then they feel threatened by the change. That’s what MAGA is defined as. It’s all about ‘Make America Great Again,’ meaning ‘make America the way it was.’ Nobody’s going back.”


The Wash Staff

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